Some things belong in every tackle box


March 22, 1998|By Lonny Weaver | Lonny Weaver,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I was rumbling around inside one of my larger tackle boxes a couple of evenings back when something made me pull my head out of it's depths and take a hard look at all the lures inside. Not counting individual plastic worms and twistertail trailers, I must admit to using but a handful of bass lures each year.

Inside this particular box (we're not even going to acknowledge the others stacked around my workshop area) are lures of different sizes, colors, shapes and materials that can be used on the surface, mid-depth or down deep. There are separate selections for big river bassing, stream bassing, reservoir bassing, bassing in Canada, bassing in the south, and of course, bass lures to toss into the local farm ponds.

Now, I'm not about to give away the seldom- and never-used contents, but maybe you can learn from my overindulgence.

I begin the list with a buzzbait, which is a modified spinnerbait that when reeled rapidly will stay on the surface. I use this lure throughout the warm months with great success on ponds, lakes and rivers for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Put two of them in your box -- one weighing one-quarter ounce, the other one-half ounce. For colors, I lean hard toward black and chartreuse.

The first time I fished in Canada in 1971, the local I was with looked into my overly huge selection and pulled out a single shallow running Rapala. He informed me that the classic minnow fake was all I needed to tie onto my line for the duration of my weeklong visit. The lure has been my all-time top freshwater fish producer ever since.

The Rapala is a great surface plug, as well as a swimming plug. For surface work, give the rod tip short twitches, causing the lure to resemble a crippled baitfish. When used as a swimming plug, best success comes when you vary the speed of the retrieve. Put either a silver or gold one in the top tray of your tackle box.

The spinnerbait, like the Rapala, is one of the most versatile lures of all time. The smaller inline spinners weighing one-eight to one-quarter ounces are hard to resist by smallmouths. The larger, bobbypin type spinnerbaits are equally effective on largemouth bass. Stock several sizes and colors of both types in different blade sizes and shapes. The blade size and shape determines the underwater vibrations given off and how deep the lure will run.

The next lure is an action-tail jig. It is, of course, a combination of a leadhead jig with a plastic twistertail attached. The pulsating curly tail draws strikes like a candy bar draws kids. Stock jig heads of different weights from 1/16 ounce up to 3/8 ounce, so that you can control the depth the lure is fished. Also, stock a variety of plastic twistertail sizes and colors.

Probably more largemouth bass have been taken on the plastic worm than all other lures combined. It can be fished on the surface, at mid-depth or crawled along on the bottom. Carry them in 4-, 6-, 8- and 9-inch lengths. Purple, blue-black, black, and green are my top producers over the years. Make sure the tail design will wiggle at the slightest twitch and bump.

My last selection is the rattling mid- to deep-depth crankbait. The lure is especially effective when fishing sharp drop-offs. A couple of years ago, I used one to boat back-to-back 5-pound largemouths and win an early spring tournament on Mattawoman Creek.

Big day

Saturday marks this year's Piney Run Reservoir Early Bird Fishing Tournament. The popular annual Carroll County

tournament offers up to $20,000 in cash prizes, including a $10,000 grand prize for a specially tagged yellow perch. Other tagged fish are worth $1,000 and $250, and boat angler prizes range from $100 to $700 each.

The cost to enter is $30 for shoreline fishing and $35 for boat anglers. Call 301-942-7205 for details.

Also, the unofficial trout season kicks off the same day as stocked ponds and streams throughout the county re-open for put-and-take angling. This is one of my personal favorite days afield. Look for me threading trout nimbles onto my hook at the Westminster Pond.

Pub Date: 3/22/98

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